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Wire wheel guidance

This is a discussion on Wire wheel guidance within the Project Builds forums, part of the Caferacer.net Forums category; Hi guys, Novice here about to start converting an old Kawasaki GT550 (yes, I know) and before I get stuck in I just need a ...

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Thread: Wire wheel guidance

  1. #1
    Junior Member madasahattersley's Avatar
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    Wire wheel guidance

    Hi guys,

    Novice here about to start converting an old Kawasaki GT550 (yes, I know) and before I get stuck in I just need a bit of guidance. It's currently got alloy wheels which I'm really not keen on. I'd be looking to buy a set of spoked wheels but the whole project is on a tight budget so I just want to buy them from eBay.

    Question is - do I need to match the old rim size exactly or do I have some room for error? Or is there some universal size that would make the whole bike look better? The tyre sizes are listed as 100/90-19 and 120/90-18, and I'll be replacing them anyway so not bothered about using the current ones.


    I know how annoying dumb questions are from novices but I'd really appreciate any help!

    Cheers

  2. #2
    Senior Member hillsy's Avatar
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    The GT Kawas were shaft drive, so good luck finding a set of spoked wheels on a budget. Blanket rule of thumb with skinny tyre sizes is don't go over 2 sizes between front and rear (IE your 100 / 120 combo is best). I know it gets a bit more complicated with newer bikes....

    Personally, I think the OEM mags look a bit like Lesters so I'd be inclined to keep them.

    A Zephyr 550 would make a better bike to start with, but hey, wrung what ya brung as they say.

    Good luck with it.
    Last edited by hillsy; 08-26-2014 at 01:45 AM.

  3. #3
    Banned Witworth's Avatar
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    If you have the Kawasaki GT550 model I'm thinking of with mags, I'd like to know how you are going to fit spoked hubs to run alloy rims.

    Working that out is way more important, than rim sizes or working out the "looks".

    If you think you can run fat modern rubber, get over it, I doubt you can or should go any bigger than stock OEM sizes.

    Your OEM mags look like Morris or Lester or some Italian race bike mags. Just paint them sexy gloss black or gold. They can look very good in white.

    Personally, I think spoke wheels are junk. They look good, but function worse than mags. Mags work better and are safer.

    Danger, is my business.
    Last edited by Witworth; 08-26-2014 at 01:45 AM.

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  5. #4
    Senior Member hillsy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Witworth View Post
    If you have the Kawasaki GT550 model I'm thinking of with mags, I'd like to know how you are going to fit spoked hubs to run alloy rims.

    Working that out is way more important, than rim sizes or working out the "looks".

    If you think you can run fat modern rubber, get over it, I doubt you can or should go any bigger than stock OEM sizes.

    Your OEM mags look like Morris or Lester or some Italian race bike mags. Just paint them sexy gloss black or gold. They can look very good in white.

    Personally, I think spoke wheels are junk. They look good, but function worse than mags. Mags work better and are safer.

    Danger, is my business.
    Am I on your ignore list or do you just post things that people have said already out of habit?

  6. #5
    Banned Witworth's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hillsy View Post
    Am I on your ignore list or do you just post things that people have said already out of habit?
    What makes you think I ever pay a more than a passing glance to any of your advice? I read the OP, and then typed a response, before I saw your post. I only saw your reply after I posted mine.

    Danger, is my business.

  7. #6
    Senior Member hillsy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Witworth View Post
    What makes you think I ever pay a more than a passing glance to any of your advice? I read the OP, and then typed a response, before I saw your post. I only saw your reply after I posted mine.

    Danger, is my business.
    Damn - I was kinda hoping I was on your ignore list.

  8. #7
    Senior Member steveo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by madasahattersley View Post
    Hi guys,

    Novice here about to start converting an old Kawasaki GT550 (yes, I know) and before I get stuck in I just need a bit of guidance. It's currently got alloy wheels which I'm really not keen on. I'd be looking to buy a set of spoked wheels but the whole project is on a tight budget so I just want to buy them from eBay.

    Question is - do I need to match the old rim size exactly or do I have some room for error? Or is there some universal size that would make the whole bike look better? The tyre sizes are listed as 100/90-19 and 120/90-18, and I'll be replacing them anyway so not bothered about using the current ones.


    I know how annoying dumb questions are from novices but I'd really appreciate any help!

    Cheers
    You may be able to find a front wheel to fit, but finding something suitable for the rear will be very difficult.
    750 Zephyrs with wire wheels come up for sale every now and again in the UK. I think you can still buy Zephyr wheel hubs new from Kawasaki, but they are very expensive (about 1200 euros) and no good for your GT

  9. #8
    Senior Member nicebikemate's Avatar
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    Wire zephyr wheels might be possible but it isn't really a feasible option unless you have more money than sense. They were only fitted to one model (d1 1996) and are hugely sought after.
    Ignorance Is Bliss

  10. #9
    Senior Member hillsy's Avatar
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    So, this is the bike, yes?





    This is something I found which is probably as good as it's going to get cosmetically on the cheap:


  11. #10
    Junior Member madasahattersley's Avatar
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    Thanks for all the helpful replies guys. I know (and knew when I bought the bike) that it isn't an ideal racer donor but it was only 339 of my puny british pounds so I couldn't really pass up.

    Quote Originally Posted by hillsy View Post
    So, this is the bike, yes?





    This is something I found which is probably as good as it's going to get cosmetically on the cheap:

    It does have those wheels, and they do look pretty good in that picture, just not a scratch on nice chrome wire wheels IMO.

    From the sounds of things it's not going to be feasible with my budget/mechanical competence so I'll just get the mags powder coated black or something.




    Which leads me on nicely to my next question - what tyres would you all recommend? I'm not interested in big fat ones to compensate for what God didn't give me. Should I be OK just buying the cheapest of the stock size from a known manufacturer? (always liked Continental for push bike tyres)

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